The sarode is a popular fretless stringed instrument in northern India. The sarode is usually a solo instrument, though it has also become popular in modern Indian orchestras. I have found that listening to a great sarode player can be a mesmorizing, transcendent experience.
The sarode is between three and three and a half feet long. The body is either carved from a single piece of teak or tune wood, or made from two pieces of wood and joined at the headstock. The rounded end of the instrument is covered with goatskin parchment. Sometimes a small gourd is added. The fingerboard is a smooth, polished steel plate.
The sarode has four main strings that carry the melody, six rhythm and drone strings, and fifteen sympathetic strings, all made of metal. The sympathetic strings add resonance to the instrument but are not actually played. The sympathetic strings and the rhythm and drone strings are tuned to the scale of the raga being performed. The sarode is played with a coconut-shell plectrum called a jaba.